There is no doubt that for many Australian households, they’d like to quickly wave goodbye to 2020 and see the world return to normal. Covid-19 has had an unprecedented impact on many Australian expat and resident families throughout the course of this year, and for many this has been quite financially debilitating.
There are also many Australian families stuck in other countries unable to return home and rapidly depleting their finances having to cover hotel bills, car rentals and other living expenses in other countries. We’ve heard many stories of families being separated including many parents from their children and while we’re pleased to see the returning passenger caps being lifted recently, there are still many unable to return home quickly.
Thankfully, the Australian Government has stepped in to provide some much needed support with loans and grants to assist Australian families stuck abroad with both their living costs and/or a return flight to Australia. The key difference between a grant and a loan, is that a grant does not need to be paid back, and if you’re an Australian pension holder, you may be eligible for a grant.
The two loan types are as follows:
- Living Costs
This is a once-off payment in the form of a loan designed to assist you and your family with covering emergency living costs until a flight becomes available for you to return to Australia. The amount that you’re eligible to receive depends on the size of your family and is outlined in the table below:
- Flight/s Back to Australia
This is a once-off payment to help you to cover a portion of the cost of your flight back to Australia. The amount is equivalent to a standard one-way economy class ticket from the region that you’re currently in. The amounts are outlined in the table below:
The eligibility criteria for each of the above loans / grants is very strict, and you must also be able to demonstrate that your genuine intention is to return to Australia as soon as you’re able to do so.
You will be eligible to apply for either of the loans providing you meet the following criteria:
- You’re an Australian citizen
- If you’re an Australian Permanent Resident, you will only be eligible if a member of your immediate family is a citizen and applies on your behalf
- You’re at least 18 years of age
- You can demonstrate that you’ve made efforts to seek financial assistance through over available means and have evidence to support this. This includes seeking support through the following channels:
- insurance company
- bank or credit card company
- travel agent or tour operator
- family and friends
- local social security services
- overseas pension
If you do meet the eligibility criteria and wish to apply for assistance, the application process is outlined below:
Step 1: Completing the online form
Please do note that you will need to have the following supporting documentation for identification and to demonstrate financial hardship as part of your application process:
- Passport copy
- Evidence of your income such as payslips / bank statements
- Evidence of your savings
- Confirmation that insurance won’t cover your costs
- Confirmation of any Australian pension being received
- Evidence of your accommodation costs
- Evidence of tickets previously purchased demonstrating you’ve tried to return to Australia
Step 2: Email Response
Within 72 hours of lodging your application, you’ll receive an email response outlining whether you’ve been successful. This will include the forms to complete including one to outline the bank details where you’d like the funds to be sent.
Step 3: Payment
Once the forms have been returned to the team, your payment will be processed within 72 hours and will be available in your bank account once the bank has processed this.
Step 4: Repayment of the Loan
Under the conditions of the scheme, the loan should be repaid within 6 months of your return to Australia. If you’re continuing to experience financial hardship, you can enter into a payment plan to repay the loan, but you must ensure that this is entered into within 6 months of your return.
If you would like to read further information about these available loans / grants, please head to the Smart Traveller website here – https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/COVID-19/covid-19-overseas-financial-assistance.
If you are one of the unlucky Australians stuck abroad, we truly wish you a safe and smooth return home.
To Your Financial Success!
Jarrad Brown is an Australian-trained and qualified Fee-Based Financial Planner with Australian Expatriate Group of Global Financial Consultants Pte Ltd providing specialist financial advice and portfolio management services to Australian professionals in Singapore. Jarrad Brown is an Authorised Representative of Global Financial Consultants Pte Ltd – No: 200305462G | MAS License No: FA100035-3
Australian Expatriate Group is a division of Global Financial Consultants in Singapore providing specialist advice to Australians living abroad.
To learn more about how we may be able to help you, please contact us:
✆ +65 8282 5702
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General Information Only: The information on this site is of a general nature only. It does not take into account your individual financial situation, objectives or needs. You should consider your own financial position and requirements before making a decision.
*Please note that Jarrad Brown is not a tax agent or accountant and none of the content outlined here should be taken as personal advice. You should consult your tax agent and financial adviser to review your current personal finances and financial goals to consider whether this strategy is appropriate for you.